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Antiques & collectibles

Antiques & Collectibles: auction news

Clockwise (from top left): A circa 1880s racetrack tout tobacconist figure ($150,000-$250,000 estimate) and a portrait ($200,000-$300,000 estimate) by Ammi Phillips are two of the items from the Andy Williams collection being auctioned by Skinner; at James D. Julia’s Winter Auction in Fairfield, Me., an 1896 portrait of the New York harbor pilot boat “Fannie” brought $52,900, a Korean folding longevity screen sold for $603,750, and an 18th century Chinese incense burner sold for $35,650.

Clockwise (from top left): A circa 1880s racetrack tout tobacconist figure ($150,000-$250,000 estimate) and a portrait ($200,000-$300,000 estimate) by Ammi Phillips are two of the items from the Andy Williams collection being auctioned by Skinner; at James D. Julia’s Winter Auction in Fairfield, Me., an 1896 portrait of the New York harbor pilot boat “Fannie” brought $52,900, a Korean folding longevity screen sold for $603,750, and an 18th century Chinese incense burner sold for $35,650.

Andy Williams, the famed crooner of “Moon River” and host of the 1960s “Andy Williams Show,” who died last September at 84, was also a passionate art collector.

Over the years the legendary entertainer had assembled collections of American folk art, impressionist and contemporary paintings, American Indian artifacts, and pre-Columbian art. His folk art collection will be sold at Skinner’s American Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction next Sunday at 10 a.m. at its Boston gallery.

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Highlighting the paintings is an 1834 double portrait of the 10-year-old Ten Broeck twins, Jacob Wessel and William Henry, of Clermont, N.Y., by the Connecticut-born folk artist Ammi Phillips (1788-1865), which is expected to bring $300,000-$500,000.

Also by Phillips is an 1830s portrait of a child in a pink dress with a spaniel ($200,000-$300,000) and a pair of circa 1836 portraits of a young man and a young woman ($30,000-$50,000).

Other paintings are as varied as a 19th-century still life of fruit and flowers, a circa 1880 view of the buildings and surroundings of the Berks County almshouse in Reading, Pa., and an 1866 portrait of the side-wheeler steamboat Neversink.

The unsigned still life, possibly by Joseph Proctor, a little-known African-American artist, has a $150,000-
$250,000 estimate; the view, painted by John Rasmussen, a German émigré, while living at the almshouse, a $100,000-$150,000 estimate; and the ship’s portrait by the New York marine artist James Bard a $50,000-$75,000 estimate.

The collection also includes a circa 1880s carved and painted racetrack tout tobacconist figure ($150,000-
$250,000); a pair of early-20th-century widgeon decoys ($20,000-$30,000) carved by the Ward brothers, Lemuel and Stephen, of Crisfield, Md., and 12 weather vanes topped by a late-19th-century horse and sulky vane ($15,000-
$25,000).

The sale of the Andy Williams Collection will be followed by nearly 600 lots of American furniture and decorative arts, silver, and China Trade items.

The expected top sellers are two
marine paintings: a depiction of the
US frigate United States and HMS Macedonia in battle during the War of 1812 ($60,000-$80,000) by the English-born American artist Thomas Birch and a portrait of the East Boston-built clipper ship Queen of the Seas ($50,000-$70,000) by William Bradford, the Fairhaven-born artist.

A Tiffany sterling silver presentation punch bowl and an 1876 American centennial carved walnut and pine box each have a $30,000-$50,000 estimate.

The bowl commemorating the opening of the F.W. Woolworth building in New York was presented by Frank W. Woolworth to the architect Cass Gilbert as a mark of appreciation at the building’s formal opening on April 24, 1913.

The rectangular box signed by John H. Bellamy (1836-1914), the famed Kittery, Maine, carver of eagles, had a carving of the Great Seal of the United States on the top and on the front a carved eagle grasping a banner inscribed “E Pluribus Unum.”

. . .

A Korean folding screen, which a Martha’s Vineyard woman had inherited, stole the show when it rocketed from a $10,000 opening bid to the staggering price of $603,750 at James D. Julia’s Winter Auction in Fairfield, Maine.

The circa 18th/19th-century longevity screen, its 10 textile panels painted with cranes, deer, pine trees, and other Asian symbols of longevity, had been given to the woman’s grandfather years ago by a friend in the diplomatic corps in Korea.

“She loved the screen, but she realized its condition was beginning to deteriorate and it needed care, so she decided it would be best to sell it,” said Jim Callahan, Julia’s Asian art specialist, who is based in Julia’s Woburn
office.

When the 83-inch-high-by-165-inch-wide (almost 7-by-14-foot) screen went on the auction block, museums in this country and abroad competed with bidders from Korea in the room and with bidders on the 24-phone bank.

The winning bid was placed by a Korean art consultant who had flown from South Korea to bid on the screen for a Korean collector.

The Asian art session saw many of the lesser-priced lots also soar above their estimates. For example, an 18th-century 8-inch-high Chinese brass incense burner, its top surmounted with a carved foo dog finial, sold for $35,650 against a $5,000-$7,000 estimate, an 18th-century 8-inch-high Chinese porcelain vase for $26,450 (against $700-
$900), and a small carved tortoiseshell box with a four-character seal mark for $21,850 (against $500-$700).

The three-day auction opened with the sale of more than 400 lots of fine art highlighted by the 120-lot collection of the late John F. Gale of Cambridge, which brought just under $1 million. All but 16 of the lots were by Cape Ann artists, including Frederick Mulhaupt, whose “Gloucester Gill Netters’’ sold for $57,500; Aldro Thompson Hibbard, whose “West River Valley, Vt.” brought $33,925; and W. Lester Stevens, whose “Old Mill, Vt.” went for $31,050.

The auction’s second day, featuring antiques, folk art, and marine art, was topped by an 1896 portrait of the New York Harbor pilot boat Fannie by the Danish-born American artist Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921) that sold for $52,900 against a $15,000-$20,000
estimate.

The second-highest price was the $36,800 paid for a pair of circa 1839 Portsmouth, N.H., fire buckets inscribed “Mechanic Fire Society” and “William P. Gookin.” The estimate was $35,000-$45,000.

A rare offering was the 1-inch-high, 3½-inch-long, 2¾-inch-wide yellow gold and moss agate oval hinged box inset with a 1-inch cameo of a black woman’s profile. It brought $31,050 against a $1,500-$2,500 estimate.

Topping the 19 weather vanes was a rare circa 1893 Nancy Hanks vane by F.W. Fiske of New York that fetched $23,000 against a $15,000-$20,000 estimate. Nancy Hanks was a famous harness-racing horse named for President Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln.

Virginia Bohlin can be reached at globe
antiques@globe.com
.
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